About this film

In 1970s San Francisco, 20-year-old Korean immigrant Chol Soo Lee is racially profiled and convicted of a Chinatown gang murder. Lee spends years fighting to survive in a violent California state prison, where he is put on death row after killing an inmate in self-defense. Investigative journalist K.W. Lee of The Sacramento Union takes a special interest in Lee’s case and sparks a social movement that unites Asian Americans to fight Lee’s wrongful conviction, igniting an unprecedented social justice movement. “Free Chol Soo Lee” looks not only at Lee’s time in prison, but the lasting struggles and scars that incarceration leave. Michigan premiere.

This film is part of the Asian American Pacific Islander Film Series, produced in collaboration with American Citizens for Justice (ACJ), with additional support from Rising Voices and funding from the Ralph C. Wilson Jr. Foundation, the Ford Foundation and the Michigan Asian Pacific American Affairs Commission (MAPAAC).

AFTER THE FILM: Chicago-based writer and director Jason Rhee talks with “Free Chol Soo Lee” co-director Julie Ha and producer Su Kim.


4 p.m. Fri., April 28, Detroit Historical Museum


Julie Ha, Eugene Yi

Julie Ha, Eugene Yi, Su Kim, Jean Tsien, Sona Jo

Gretchen Jude


Running time:
1 hour 26 minutes

Country of Origin:
United States

Festival history:
Sundance Film Festival, Seattle International Film Festival, Los Angeles Asian Pacific Film Festival

Osler Best Feature Film Award, Toronto Reel Asian Film Festival

Film website